Senate Judiciary Committee to Hold Oversight Hearing On Bureau of Prisons
Date:  11-01-2013

BOP Director Samuels to testify on November 6
Press release from Senator Patrick Leahy’s office.

WASHINGTON (Friday, October 25, 2013) – The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an oversight hearing on the Bureau of Prisons in two weeks, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday.

The hearing, which will be chaired by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), is part of the Committee’s regular oversight function and will also explore cost-effective ways to reduce recidivism. The government spends $6.4 billion annually on federal prisons, which is around one-quarter of the Department of Justice budget. The Judiciary Committee held in September a hearing on mandatory minimum sentences, and last year Leahy presided over a hearing on rising prison costs.

The upcoming hearing, titled “Oversight of the Bureau of Prisons & Cost-Effective Strategies for Reducing Recidivism,” will be on Nov. 6 and will include testimony from Charles Samuels, the director of the Bureau of Prisons. Senator Leahy has bipartisan legislation with Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, that would expand the so-called “safety valve” that allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in cases where a minimum sentence is unnecessary and counterproductive. The bipartisan legislation would allow judges to avoid needlessly long sentences for certain offenders and help curb the spiraling costs associated with these lengthy sentences.

“This one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing never made us safer, but it has cost us plenty. We must explore ways to cut these rising costs and help law enforcement better protect our communities,” Leahy said. “I thank Senator Whitehouse for chairing this important oversight hearing.”

The hearing will be held on Wednesday, November 6, at 10 a.m. in Room 226 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Member statements, witness testimony, and a live webcast will be available online on November 6.